Relatives of the Australian man charged with murdering Muslim worshippers at two Christchurch mosques on Friday say they are devastated and sorry for the families of those killed.
“We are so sorry for the families over there, for the dead and the injured,” Brenton Tarrant’s uncle Terry Fitzgerald told Nine News.
“What he has done is just not right.”
The gunman’s 81-year-old grandmother, Marie Fitzgerald, said the family was devastated that it was their own blood who had been charged with the attack, which left 50 dead after two mosques in Christchurch.
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“We are all gobsmacked, we don’t know what to think. The media is saying he has planned it for a long time,” Fitzgerald said.
“It’s just so much of everything to take in that somebody in our family would do anything like this.”
Tarrant reportedly went to Europe after his father died of cancer in 2010 but didn’t come back the same man, she added.
“It’s only since he travelled overseas I think, that that boy has changed completely to the boy we knew,” she said.
Tarrant spent most of his time on computer games during his high school days rather than chasing girls, his grandmother said.
The 28-year-old had returned to his home town of Grafton, in New South Wales, a year ago for his sister’s birthday.
His sister and mother have been put under police protection since Friday’s attack.
Tarrant will be prosecuted in New Zealand over the fatal shootings. If convicted of the killings, he could face an “extraordinary” jail term.